The history of Leica began with the Optical Institute in the German city of Wetzlar in 1849. The main achievements of the film era:

  • Development of LEICA cameras
  • Anastigmat Leica 1 lens in 1925
  • Standardized screw mount M39x1 in 1931
  • Introduction of the Leica Bayonet-M with the debut of the Leica M3 at the Cologne Photokina in 1954.


Compactness, quality and reliability have always been the hallmarks of Leica. In the early days, compact cameras indirectly relieved users of the cumbersome wide-format shooting setup, offering absolute advantages such as the ability for photographers to take multiple shots in a row without changing film. The first Leica small format camera soon became popular with photographers around the world and greatly expanded their ability to capture the world on film. Among the photographers who captured the events on Lake's cameras were Henri Cartier Besson, Eugene Khaldey, Frieder Blikle.


Post-war Germany in the 1920s became the center of photography due to the availability of compact cameras. Leica has completely completed the 35mm compact camera market. In addition, Leica has collaborated with such legends as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa (both co-founders of the world's most famous photo agency Magnum); Margaret Burke White, Eugene Smith, Erich Salomon, Alfred Eiseinstadt, Charles Lindberghm, Nick Ut (AP), Elliot Erwit (Magnum), etc.

During World War II, thanks to its portability and reliability, Leica cameras were widely used by photographers to highlight major events. In a sense, Leica has contributed in part to the development of modern photojournalism. Probably the general consensus is that the quiet operation of the Leica rangefinder is supposed to be an excellent feature of a photojournalism camera. It would be wrong to associate LEICA only with renowned photographers of the medium, as the quality and reliability have allowed Leica to gain widespread acceptance among professional and amateur photographers, as well as artists who have chosen Leica cameras as their personal imaging tool.

Epision M6WKlein

Over the years, there have been several special editions of LEICA cameras that have been released in very small numbers either to offer as a corporate gift or to commemorate a special occasion and / or simply released with a specific targeted background in their respective editions.

HCB Magnum Paris

Henri Cartier-Bresson, long-time Leica co-founder of Magnum, is arguably the most famous Leica photographer of all. In 1932, at the age of twenty-four, he acquired a Leica rangefinder camera and turned an occasional interest into a passion. In the years that followed, he created some of the most original and influential works in contemporary photography with his camera. Recalling the beginning of his career, in the introductory essay to his 1952 collection, The Decisive Moment, Cartier-Bresson recalled: “I worked with pleasure. I just discovered Leica. She became an extension of my eye, and I have never parted with her since I found her. " ... The "defining moment" style he came up with is best represented in his signature photograph of a jumping man frozen in a millisecond before his foot falls into a huge puddle on a railroad track in Paris, 1932. Today, the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson are in the collection of museums and private art collectors around the world.

In 1998, Leica AG collaborated with Louis Vuitton Malletier, Paris to create a unique and distinctive LEICA M6 with a presentation case and case in the original Louis Vuitton style and design. The camera has an upside. base plate and fittings. Platinum-plated and trimmed in calfskin and leatherette, and in the most unusual manner, were engraved with the facsimile signature of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

HCB Magnum Seville

One of the unique highlights of this special issue is that for the first time, Henri Cartier-Bresson, arguably the greatest photographer of the twentieth century and a leading Leica user, agreed to support the camera and allowed his signature to be engraved on the camera. One of the main reasons is that the print run is auctioned at Christie's in South Kensington and the proceeds from Leica and Louis Vuitton are donated to the French international charity les petits frères des Pauvres. Leica, as a camera manufacturer since 1925, and Louis Vuitton, as a manufacturer of exquisite bespoke bags since 1854, have an unrivaled reputation for the quality of their products and this camera and case. This is a momentous moment for both firms. The camera and case are unique, and this is an exceptional opportunity to acquire the finest Leica collection while benefiting a charitable organization that operates in Europe and America. In addition, and for the record only, Leica legend Henri-Cartier Bresson unveiled the Leica M3 with the special serial number 750 on the occasion of the Paris Biennale of Photography.


The use of Leica in photojournalism has resulted in impressive results. German photojournalist Erich Salomon is considered one of the founders of the shooting method by surprise, who got the opportunity to capture the informal life of politicians thanks to Leica. The outbreak of the Second World War was also documented by the new camera, which remained operational in conditions unthinkable for equipment of larger formats. One of the most famous examples of the use of the Lake in this war was the footage of the Allied amphibious assault in Normandy by war photographer Robert Capa. He became the only one of the many filmmakers who landed with the trooper, having received unique images due to the unpretentiousness of the camera.

Rangefinder cameras from Leica

The Leica is the first mass-produced small format camera. Its prototype was created in 1913 by Oscar Barnack, who used standard 35mm film, but with twice the size of the frame - 24 × 36mm. Barnack's phrase "Small negatives - large images" largely predetermined the further development of photography. In 1923, Barnack convinced his boss, Ernst Leitz II, to produce a prototype of a new camera, which went on sale in 1925 under the name Leica I. The original name looked like LeCa and was derived from Leitz Camera - "Leitz camera". Subsequently, the more euphonious word Leica was chosen.

Leica I 1

  • In 1930, the Leica Interchangeable Standard was created, for which the normal 50mm lens, as well as the wide-angle (35mm) and telephoto (135mm) lenses were released.
  • In 1932, the Leica II appeared - the world's first small format rangefinder camera. The camera was equipped with an optical rangefinder coupled with the focusing of the lens.
  • The next model was the Leica III, a camera with an extended exposure range. Leica III was produced in several modifications, and one of them - IIIa in the USSR received the nickname "Annushka".
  • Leica with Leica M mount
    Leica MP and Leica M3
    In 1954, the Leica M3 appeared with a specially designed bayonet lens mount.
  • The camera had a viewfinder combined with a rangefinder (with optical parallax compensation and automatically changing frame frames in the viewfinder's field of view), a high-precision photographic shutter with a non-rotating exposure head.
  • The design of the camera and bayonet was successful, the Leica M3 was followed by the Leica M2, Leica M4 (they could be equipped with an external selenium or CdS exposure meter coupled to the shutter speed), the Leica M5 and Leica M6 (with TTL exposure meter).
  • In the 2010s, the Leica MP (with mechanical shutter and TTL exposure meter) and the Leica M7 with electronically controlled shutter were produced.
  • The Leica M mount is also used on the Leica M8 and Leica M9 digital rangefinder cameras (2009).
  • For cameras of the Leica M series, motor attachments are available - hand-held and with an electric drive.
  • Cameras Leica M1, Leica MD (in various modifications) were produced without a viewfinder, intended for use with microscopes or telescopes (photo recorders).

IN USSR cameras Leica were on the free sale, and in January 1934 the production of a Soviet copy of the Leica II camera - the FED camera - began. The retail price of a standard FED in 1937 was 712 rubles, and the German device cost more than 2000 and was available to few. During the Great Patriotic War, photojournalists preferred to use domestic cameras, because shooting with foreign equipment required a special permit. In 1948, the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant mastered the production of Zorky cameras according to the FED documentation. FED was produced until 1955, "Zorky" - until 1956.

upload photocamera fed 1 4

For "threaded" and "bayonetThe Leica rangefinder was equipped with a Leica Visoflex attachment (in three versions), which made it possible to transform a rangefinder camera into a single-lens reflex camera.

Single lens SLR cameras

The proliferation of single-lens reflex cameras, which began after the elimination of major system shortcomings in 1959 in the Nikon F, led to a serious drop in demand for rangefinder cameras in both photojournalism and other branches of photography. The trend has not spared the Leica Camera, significantly reducing the sales of the equipment. By the mid-1960s, DSLRs were available for most photographic equipment manufacturers. As a result, the company was forced to start developing its own SLR systems, the first of which was the Leicaflex.

  • From 1964 to 1965, Leica also produced Leica R-mount single-lens reflex cameras, the first of which was the Leicaflex. The first SLR "Leica" was a camera with a semi-automatic exposure setting, but the light measurement was not carried out through the shooting lens, the photoresistor was located on the front panel of the camera. Photographic shutter - mechanical, with horizontal movement of cloth curtains, exposure range from 1 to 1/2000 sec and "B". Exposure metering at aperture closed to the working value, diaphragm repeater. In the field of view of the viewfinder there is a two-hand indicator of the exposure meter, and the set shutter speed was also displayed.
  • From 1968 to 1974, the Leicaflex SL was produced - a semiautomatic device with over-objective exposure metering at an open aperture, in connection with which the Leica R mount was changed. General technical characteristics are similar to "Leukaflex".
  • From 1974 to 1976, the Leicaflex SL2 was produced, modified by the Leicaflex SL. The camera received a central sync contact, in the viewfinder, in addition to the set shutter speed, the set aperture was also displayed. The viewfinder indicators are illuminated by a miniature incandescent lamp powered by a separate element.
  • Cameras with a motor attachment Leicaflex SL Mot and Leicaflex SL2 Mot were also produced. Since 1976, together with the Minolta Corporation, the production of the Leica R series of cameras has been launched.
  • Leica R3 (1976-1980) - small-format automatic camera with aperture priority, with automatic disabled, manual or semi-automatic exposure setting is possible. Developed with the participation of Minolta. In Japan it was sold under the name Minolta XE, the main difference being that the Minolta had a bayonet of its own design.
  • Leica R4 (1980-1987) - A simplified version of the third model. In Japan it was sold under the name Minolta XD, in Europe - Minolta XD-7, in the USA - Minolta XD-11. "Minolts" were distinguished by their own lens mount.
  • Leica R5 (1986-1992) - developed on the basis of the Leica R3, the possibility of automatic operation not only in the aperture priority mode, but also in the shutter priority mode and program line.
  • Leica R6 (1988-1997) - mechanical shutter camera, semi-automatic exposure setting. Leica Camera proprietary.
  • Leica R7 (1992-1997) - modification of the "Leica" R5.
  • Leica R8 (1990-2002?) - with an electronically controlled photographic shutter, shutter speeds from 1/8000 to 32 sec. DX-code input of film sensitivity, operating modes: shutter priority, aperture priority, program line mode, as well as semi-automatic and manual exposure setting.
  • Leica R9 (2002-2009) - modification of the "Leica" R8.

digital cameras

  • The Leica S1 is a scanning type medium format digital camera.
  • Leica S2 is a medium format digital single-lens reflex camera, matrix size 30 × 45 mm, resolution 37,5 megapixels. Photographic gate focal, shutter speed range 1/4000 - 32 s or when using lens CS with central gateohm 1/500 - 32 s.
  • The Leica S3 was not mass-produced.
  • Leica M8 (since 2006) - the first digital rangefinder camera from Leica. Lens Mount - bayonet Leica M, possibility of using optics from film cameras. Matrix size 27 × 18 mm.
  • The Leica M9 (since 2009) is the first digital rangefinder camera with a full-frame sensor (24 × 36 mm). Modifications of Leica M9-P, Leica ME Typ 220, Leica M Monochrom (capable of taking only black-and-white images) are produced.
  • Leica Digilux 2
  • Leica Digilux
  • Leica Digilux
  • Leica Digilux Zoom
  • Leica Digilux 1
  • Leica Digilux 2
  • The Leica Digilux 3 is a digital SLR camera in production since 2006. Matrix size 17,3 × 13 mm (crop factor 2). Lens Mount - bayonet 4/3, through-mirror viewfinder with Porro prism. A structurally similar camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1.Leica D-Lux-2 is produced in Japan.
  • Leica Digital compact camera series
  • Leica C-Lux series
  • Leica D-Lux series
  • Leica X series
  • Leica V-Lux series

Leica Souvenir Cameras

In Lake they are very fond of producing luxury design products, and under an individual order. If you look for information, you can find that in the entire history of existence outside the mass segment, more than five dozen cameras were released with different body finishes, colors, and thematic sets. I have collected some of them on the site.

Luxury and themed Leica M6 sets


Adapters for cameras and lenses

Sometimes I buy photographic equipment from the USSR and not only. You can offer your write me. Help the project: 5469 1200 1062 4624. Comments can be left without registration and SMS

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